ICC should step in now and ban Pakistan for five years

 
Andy Lloyd
SO, members of the ICC, it’s all up to you, but, surely now enough is enough. Absurd accusations that England players were involved in match fixing weren’t just the comments of an excitable journalist, they were made by Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, for goodness sake.

I believe I am balanced enough to criticise the performance of the England players when necessary, but not for one moment do I believe that any member of that team would throw a match. Why would they?

It is inconceivable to think that this guy can make such unsubstianted claims and get away with it. It can go on no longer, we’ve had enough.

For me, Pakistan should be suspended from international cricket for five years.

In that time, the ICC should keep a close eye on the PCB operation as a whole and make sure that they sort themselves out 100 per cent before they return.

Every time Pakistan come over here there seems to be an issue. This has to be the final straw. They seem to attract controversy wherever they turn and it’s high time the ICC took action.

My good mate Bob Woolmer lost his life in the hands of Pakistan cricket and although I’m in no way apportioning blame for Bob’s death in any particular direction, it’s another example of how Pakistani cricket in general needs to get its house in order.

As we all know, the power in world cricket lies in Asia, so it will be interesting to see what they do.

The ball is entirely in the ICC’s court right now, but you can rest assured that our own governing body, the ECB, will be playing their part in ensuring English cricket does not get caught up in this again.

They welcomed Pakistan to play their home matches in this country this summer, and this is the thanks they get. I think it’s fair to say that invitation won’t be extended into next summer as originally scheduled.




PACK THEIR BAGS

As a result of this furore, the nation has completely lost interest in the current one-day series. A good friend of mine is a loyal member of the MCC. He went to the fourth one-dayer at Lord’s on Monday and he told me he’d never felt less enthused about a day watching international cricket. That speaks volumes.

Andrew Strauss and his players only agreed to play the remaining two matches before hearing Ijaz Butt’s comments on Monday morning.

But I’d bet my bottom dollar they would go back on that decision now if they could. Indeed, the fact they are still playing shows what a huge credit they are to their cricket board and the fans in general.

Also, I wouldn’t mind betting that, privately, ECB?pair David Collier and Giles Clarke would also end the series now if they could. There is so much good about English cricket right now, it doesn’t need this controversy and it doesn’t need Pakistan.

In summary, the board, the players, will be delighted to see the back of Pakistan as they prepare for the Ashes series this winter – I’m sure they’d even pack their bags for them.